Writing is Coming….. I’m going to need some tea with that

Nic Hilton is a PhD student at the Centre for Research in Children’s Literature at Cambridge. Her research is on maturation and the works of Patrick Ness. She finds that tea fixes everything, but the water down South upsets her greatly. There’s no greater sadness than a bad brew.

It’s the start of term, and while things are quiet at the moment, you know that the chaos of writing will soon hit. Whether it’s figuring out your Essay Two, sorting out upgrade issues, or actually writing your thesis, you know that writing is coming. So now’s the time to figure out some key spaces where you can really get your write on in a relaxing environment with the support you need… and by that I mean a good brew and snacks!


Photo Credit: espressolibrary.com

  1. Espresso Library

A funky coffee shop that brings together speciality coffee and a cycling lifestyle. Decent food and plenty of tables where people are welcome type away; the place is nice and airy, making it the perfect work space. What make this place even better is that it is dog friendly… and we all know dogs are life, and perfect for calming stress levels.


Photo credit: onetwoculinarystew.com

  1. Cambridge Cookery School

So this is where you need to get brunch or have a lovely coffee and a piece of cake if you haven’t ventured here yet. It isn’t as large as other spaces, so you may want to use it as a place for down time rather than for working. That’s not to say it’s not a nice work environment – but instead of writing, why not take your books and getting some reading done. Bonus: this place is also a great one for spotting doggos!


Photo credit: fitzbillies.com

  1. Fitzbillies

A Cambridge institution, they have probably been acknowledged in many a student’s thesis. They make great coffee, provide a good brew, and offer some delicious brunch options. They are famous for their Chelsea buns, but as I believe that cinnamon is the work of the devil, you’d have to try those for yourself. There are two locations, and they can get super busy, but if you need a place that has some background noise then this is the place for you.


Photo credit: Nic Hilton


Photo credit: cambridge-news.co.uk

  1. Waterstones Café

If you need your books and your tea in one location, then Waterstones is perfect. With a café spanning two floors, you have a choice of atmosphere. Downstairs is a little busier, as it acts as a walk through to the exits, but that also makes for an energised environment. Want something with a little less traffic? Then head upstairs to the second floor – it’s usually a little quieter and has more tables available, including a few larger ones if you are planning some group work sessions. Just remember, though, that not every table has plug sockets, so make sure you try grab one near the walls if you have an unreliable battery.


Photo credit: cambridge-news.co.uk

  1. Mill Road

This suggestion is less specific on place, but it’s to give you a general area where there are plenty of options to choose from. Mill Road has a growing number of cafes and tea shops all vying for your attention. So, if you get bored of one space and need to shake it up, then just wander down the road and you’ll find another place just as lovely to work in. Plus, they have some great charity shops along the way!


Photo credit: opentable.co.uk

  1. Stem and Glory

Formerly known as Afternoon Tease (and I am still missing their cakes), Stem and Glory has had some big cake tins to fill, but with their wide range of vegan possibilities it really does add some health options that we might be needing after all the coffee, cakes, and brunches! When you’re writing you need brain food after all so this might be the place for you.


Photo credit: Nic Hilton

  1. Not feeling the coffee shop vibe but the library is too quiet?

Look no further than your very own faculty! We have writing groups galore to help you along the way. Firstly, we have the Children’s Literature writing group, where you can go and find comfort in your friends and those who share your passions. Secondly, there is the FERSA writing group, where you can meet more people from the wider faculty. ‘But where do I get my tea fix?’ I hear you cry! Well, fortunately, there is the café downstairs, there is the PhD Social area, or you can bring your own stuff with you – meaning, you can get your write on without being interrupted and you can also give your purse a rest if you need to. Don’t fancy any of those options? They Homerton is a stone’s throw away with the Buttery or the Great Hall.


Photo credit: Nic Hilton

  1. Last but by no means least

Tired of work? On your way home? Or just really fancy something sweet and refreshing? You can never go wrong with Jack’s Gelato, and while this might be controversial (being that its currently mid January) I firmly believe that Mango Sorbet or Mint Choc Chip ice cream (depending on my mood at the time) are for life and not just for summer!


Photo credit: Nic Hilton

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